Celebrating the Centennial

By Michael Ferguson

The AAUP is holding local and national events to mark its hundredth anniversary throughout 2015. The centennial is a time to celebrate the past, but it is also an opportunity to strengthen the Association for the future, and many of the planned centennial events both highlight the AAUP’s historical achievements and call attention to the importance of its ongoing work to protect academic freedom and strengthen the faculty voice for all faculty members.

A number of disciplinary societies and higher education associations have invited Association leaders, members, and staff to speak about AAUP policies at their national meetings. Since January, the AAUP has held sessions at the annual meetings of the American Historical Association, the Modern Language Association, the Association of American Colleges and Universities, and the Association of American Geographers. Chapters and state conferences have contributed by organizing colloquia and membership drives. Wright State University hosted a centennial speaker series that covered topics ranging from the founding of the Association to the implications of new social media; the Connecticut conference planned a day of action with workshops on organizing; California State University, East Bay, held a gala celebration that included the presentation of a resolution from the state of California honoring the AAUP; the Franklin and Marshall College chapter hosted a lecture by Steven Salaita, whose dismissal by the University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign was the subject of a recent AAUP investigation; the New York conference held a two-day meeting on academic freedom and shared governance; and the Maryland conference helped to organize a centennial celebration at Johns Hopkins University that focused on the past, present, and future of academic freedom.

The national AAUP will celebrate the centennial at our annual conference in Washington, DC, this June. This year’s conference will feature a centennial plenary address on the history of shared governance by Larry Gerber, the former chair of the AAUP’s Committee on College and University Governance; a luncheon address on governance, unionization, and the first red scare by Hans-Joerg Tiede, editor of the centennial edition of the Redbook; the unveiling of a timeline illustrating key events in the AAUP’s history; and a centennial banquet address by Democracy Now! cohost Juan González, which will be followed by a reception with live music, dancing, and a cash bar. Visit http://www.aaup.org/event/2015-aaup-annual-conference for more information or to register for the conference.

A full list of centennial events is on the AAUP’s website at http://www.aaup.org/about/centennial/celebrating-the-centennial. If you are interested in planning a local centennial event or would like to hold a centennial-themed membership drive on your campus, the national AAUP can help. Write to centennial@aaup.org for more information or to have your event listed on the AAUP’s website.

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